The painted steel Sun Altered Cube is a large solar powered kinetic art installation designed by Michael Jantzen to be placed into a public park. An array of solar cells is mounted on the top of the cube. These solar cells power two electric motors that are connected to two corners of the cube. The corners have been separated from the rest of the cube so they can be slowly rotated in and out of phase, by the solar powered electric motors.
The speed of the rotating corners varies in relationship to the intensity of the sun. On a sunny day, the corners can rotate up to one revolution per minute. The direction of the rotating corners also randomly changes from time to time. The excess solar generated electricity is sent into the local power grid.
The cube has been painted with a strong black and white graphic in order to emphasize the ways in which it continually changes. After the corners begin to rotate, over time they will move in and out of phase with each other. This decreases the likelihood of the cubes shape and graphic realigning into its original symmetrical state.
The Sun Altered Cube is part of a series of structures designed by Michael, which explore ways in which the built environment can interact in unexpected ways, with the natural environment. Many of these structures reject the notion of a static object, and replace it with a randomly changing energetic one.